Blazing trails

Newton’s Jacob Fork Park is getting a two-mile mountain bike trail, and the project’s pedal pushers say the addition will make the site more attractive to regional visitors.

The new amenity won’t cost the city a dime, either.

Catawba Valley Heritage Alliance (CVHA) President Kenyon Kelly said $15,000 is raised to create a bike trail that is part of a larger master plan for the park.

Kelly said $5,000 has been provided through North Carolina’s Adopt-A-Trail program. Another $5,000 has been obtained by Lightning Cycles’ owners Mike and Cindy Owensby after they submitted a grant application to a bicycle manufacturer that is a vendor for the Conover store. Dedicated to preserving recreational resources and natural habitats, CVHA is providing $5,000 as well.

“I want to stress the variety of partners involved,” Kelly said. “We have a private entity — the bicycle manufacturer, our state recreational trail program and our local non-profit Catawba Valley Heritage Alliance.
“We are delighted to see this public-private partnership, and we are delighted to get the ball rolling,” he continued.

The trail will be designed by Trail Dynamics, and work is expected to begin immediately.

“We promised to provide volunteer labor to do the finish work, and the company reduced the cost to $15,000. We are getting a high-class, expensive project with a lot less cost,” he said, adding several organizations, including CVHA, bike clubs and Newton-Conover Rotary Club volunteered to help.

To read more of this story, pick up the print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.